The concept of working from home is somewhat deceiving — especially for those who live by the conventional employment standards of the 20th century.
The remote workforce is not only growing its own numbers in modernity; it’s also growing the bottom line for many agencies that are forward-thinking and embracing the benefits of the telecommuter.
Over the past decade, I’ve worked remotely in various positions: freelance writing for websites and publications across multiple industries; day-to-day online business operations such as blog uploads and social media; online business development and sales; and ghostwriting more than 500 articles for CEOs across various industries for publications like Forbes and Huffington Post.
During that time I’ve also worked sporadically for in-house digital marketing agencies (and even drove a UPS truck part-time for benefits). I’ve never lasted long in those traditional settings — I despise wasting any time and energy, or observing people get paid to waste time. But that’s what happens at some of those agencies that continue to function on the archaic 9-5, Monday-through-Friday work lifestyle.
My last stint at an agency was well over a year ago, and I could never see myself spending 40 hours per week, plus the extra time commuting, for something I can get done in half of the time from the comfort of a home office due to total focus.
I’m grateful for those experiences, though; they helped further throttle entrepreneurism, and I finally said enough and launched my own content marketing agency.
Conventional agency standards were tossed.
I developed a business model that solely relied on a remote workforce of freelancers and employees, and white label partners for services where my expertise was lacking.
My telecommuting workforce never complains; they finish projects on their own time and deliver quality work that sustains client satisfaction. And, due to lack of overhead that plagues the conventional agency lifestyle, I can pay them what they’re actually worth.
Here are the top 25 benefits of a remote workforce, along with some tips that I’ve learned from my experience as both a remote worker and agency founder that relies on remote workers.
1. Happy Workforce, Happy Client
A happy workforce leads to happy clients, which culminates in long-term clients.
I deal with both remote full-time employees and freelancers, and happiness is always high.
I always ask why, and the answer is usually rooted in the flexibility factor – they work when they want, which keeps the energy high and the happiness higher.
This happiness leads to quality work, and, again, happy clients.
Finding the correct fit within the remote workforce may take some time, but the prospects are endless.
2. Endless Remote Prospects
The U.S. remote workforce is growing stronger than ever; an Upwork study says 36 percent (57.3 million) of the U.S. workforce freelanced in 2017 – up one percent from 2016.
This number is expected to reach over 50 percent within 10 years.
If you can’t find the correct remote workers under these types of numbers, try refining your search on the multiple platforms available, including Upwork and Toptal, to name a few.
3. Conventional Workers Want Remote Time…But Employees Are Still so 1900s
According to a GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com study, half of U.S. jobs are compatible with remote work, and 80 percent of workers say they’d partake in remote work at least half the time.
Regardless, conventional standards remain across all industries, including digital marketing, and only 7 percent of U.S. employers have flexible work options that include even part-time remote work.
4. Kill the Ego Trip
For some agencies, having an office full of hourly employees and the associated overhead appears like an ego trip.
I’ll leave my ego in my home office, thank you.
Instead, I’ll put that energy toward creating a happy remote workforce that only produces top quality for my clients.
5. Company Culture Is Achievable Without 9-5 Lifestyle
Many conventional agencies will argue that company culture is crucial for performance, and the only way to achieve worthy company culture is to have everyone working in the same office at the same time for 40 hours or whatever a week.
Some agencies have short, morning “pow-wow” meetings every day, or a single weekly meeting.
Yes, these are important, but all can be done remotely.
Maybe meet once a week or once a month face-to-face if needed? We are not working for Elon Musk, correct?
During all other hours – the vast majority of a 40-hour week – many are either wasting time, or working solo or with their team on projects, which can easily be managed from outside the office through screen sharing, shared documents, or a FaceTime call that is a tap away.
6. Less Overhead, More Profitability
Let’s talk about the big one – profitability.
A lack of overhead dramatically increases profit margin.
When you rely on a remote workforce, you’ll save some serious overhead, such as office expenses.
Contingent on where you live, rental space can be the largest expense based on your company size – especially in places in or around big cities like Los Angeles, Austin, or New York City.
7. Less Robbing of Company Time
There are also all the associated bills with that office space – electricity, supplies, chairs/desks, heat, cleaning services, parking space costs, computers, and other things office needs such as the iconic water cooler where conversations about the latest news or social media posts that quickly rob hours of company time.
You can save serious coin here.
8. 1099s Require Zero Taxes & Benefits
Though you may have some full-time remote staff, a bulk of your creators and SEO pros will likely be 1099 freelancers.
With 1099s, you also pay zero taxes and don’t have to offer benefits, though if you have some dedicated contracted freelancers it’s always cool to toss them a monthly budget for personal benefits.
These expenses are zilch compared to traditional office space, and it will also show your workers you respect them.
9. Less Overhead, Better Compensation for Top Talent to Serve Clients
With less overhead, agencies with a remote-based business model can offer better compensation rates, which naturally attracts the top talent.
Again, this is a value play for your clients; you can invest more in quality services versus an office refrigerator full of Red Bull.
10. Energy Focuses on Most Valuable Workers for Your Clients
Like other entrepreneurs within the digital marketing world, I put the proverbial heart and soul, and then some, into my agency.
I want nothing but the best for my clients, whether it’s a content writer, to technical SEO pro, or project manager.
Freelancers and white label partners are plentiful, and due to lack of commitment terms, you can focus your energy on only the most valuable ones.
Again, there are more than 50 million remote workers in the U.S., so with patience and discipline, you’ll find your best group.
11. Sustainable Quality Talent
I’ve worked with hundreds of content writers over the past decade, and only a handful are used repeatedly.
Basically, the ones that provide quality work, the more work they’ll get, from a $600 article to a $10 meta description.
The same goes for white label partners. Once you see recurring quality, you embrace it and sustain the talent.
12. Simpler to Retain Top Talent
More on retaining the good ones.
Long ago I learned how to retain top talent through some simple advice: treat your remote workforce as you would treat your clients.
Most would say “top-paying” clients, but all clients are equal.
13. Long-Term Thinking by Lack of Corporate-Style Bonuses
Beware of pre-planned bonuses, such as quarterly bonuses that are typical across Corporate America.
These types of quarterly incentives create a short-term mindset, and workers will focus on short-term returns over the long term.
Instead of offering structured incentives, I intermittently surprise my remote workforce with bonuses or books.
14. Continuous Growth
Regarding books, I believe in constant renewals and sharpening skill sets.
Constant reading is absolutely necessary for continuous growth, so influence this sentiment as much as possible.
When you deal with top talent, everyone wants to achieve more in less time, and earn more.
15. More Engagement
For many, especially those who never dealt with non-office workers, the idea of more engagement and efficiency from a remote workforce sounds counterintuitive. But it’s typically the opposite.
When flexibility is at the forefront, and they know how to manage time, remote workers accomplish more quality work in less time.
Agencies have fewer headaches, which ultimately leads to, once again, the goal of all this — happier clients.
16. More Susceptible to Time Management
In my early days of remote working, when I was hired as an Online Editor/SEO, I constantly found myself overworking.
I wasn’t trained in time management or didn’t have anything close to structured days, but that changed when I read “Ultimate Sales Machine” and Richard Koch’s “The 80/20 Principle”, respectively.
These books changed everything about my day-to-day workflow as a freelancer well before I launched my remote-forward business.
I wasn’t working sales, but I wanted to connect with the sales team so I could help create stronger content marketing strategies.
Why not focus on the top ROI products and push them first? This ultimately led me to these books, which helped me create a more focused workday, which naturally led to more engagement and efficiency.
17. More Time for Self-Discipline and Education
Speaking once again of “Ultimate Sales Machine”, when I onboard a new remote writer, this is one of the very first books I send them – along with “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser.
Remind your remote workers that they can make the time to read and educate themselves more if they learn some simple principals of time management and self-discipline to constantly crave learning.
18. Remote Workforce Is More Efficient
Not only are remote workers more engaged, they are more efficient, leaving time for additional work without the added pressure of completing tasks within an eight-hour time frame.
This is likely the psychological response to not being “on the clock” and having the flexibility to get stuff done on their own time.
19. Find Experts Within Each Vertical
When it comes to original content, which is the ultimate goal for everything online, I now actively seek out top producers within their industries.
Since there are literally thousands of prospects across various verticals, it solidifies another positive reason to use freelancers. This allows you to pick and choose only the best for your client’s industry.
Would you want a writer disciplined in software development writing for a fashion-based client?
It’s rare, but sometimes you’ll discover people who can do everything very well – I call them my “factotum specialists.”
If you find one or two, do anything possible to retain their services, and keep them happily working, regardless if it’s a surprise bonus or higher wages to get them away from that conventional, college-bought lifestyle.
20. No Pressure to Perform When Not 100 Percent
Life gets in the way of the 40-hours per week conventional work life. Sometimes midweek birthday parties run late, you get sick, your kids get sick, or whatever.
If you are in a mindset of working 9-5 and are not with it during those hours, an entire working day can quickly fade.
But remote workers don’t typically function on this mindset, especially the creative ones.
Hell, just a few days ago I didn’t begin work until 8 p.m. for two consecutive nights due to having a 101 fever. Work was on my time, and quality didn’t suffer.
21. Quality Due to Flexibility
Most of my creative remote workers – especially the content writers – typically submit completed work or email questions between 1 and 5 a.m.
It’s part of their process, and it really doesn’t matter when stuff gets done – as long as it’s on time and is of the highest quality.
Again, flexibility produced quality work.
22. Quicker Email Response Times
In regards to the previous point, always require a 12-hour window for email response when it deals directly with the client. If it requires urgency, a text message to check an email works.
This naturally happens when remote workers complete tasks on “their times.” But always demand at least a 12-hour response window!
23. More Procrastination, More Quality
Beware of procrastination, especially from those on the creative side. Procrastination is simply a byproduct of their natural working lifestyle.
Though my hours are blocked daily for projects that are typically planned weeks in advance, I sometimes fall victim to procrastination when it comes to creative tasks.
When under creative pressure, I continuously find myself waiting until last minute to finish some writing projects.
Working closer to deadline does something psychologically that doesn’t need explaining. It simply works for some situations (such as this piece).
24. Procrastination Isn’t For Everyone, Though
Since you still have a business to run and must safeguard client deliverables, you must find a solution for dealing with natural procrastinators.
The biggest rule for managing remote workers, especially those on the creative side?
Always set project deadlines a week or more in advance of the client deliverable date, just in case.
25. Thank Yous & Respect
True leaders embrace diversity.
This helps propel innovation, an action that demands thinking outside of conventional standards, such as the 9-to-5 work lifestyle.
Embrace the remote workforce, even if only on a part-time basis; your employees will thank you, and respect you more.
And so will your clients.
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